derous applause, Fleming proclaimed,rn”Free people don’t have masters, andrnwhat the judge and his lackey . . . mean isrnthat we are all—black and white. EastrnSide and West Side and all around therntown—slaves on a plantation owned byrnthe federal courts. And if we sit aroundrntaking their orders, without offering anyrnresistance, then we deserve to be slaves.”rnHe called on the citizens of Rockford torn”develop the kind of solidarity that thernpeople of Poland had when the studentsrnand workers. Catholics and Jews andrnnonbelievers, all banded together to regainrncontrol over their own country.”rnWhile the forum was not a politicalrnevent, it had a significant impact onrnthe Rockford mayoral race. The Republicanrncandidate, Tim Simms, made thernschools a major point in his campaign,rnand although he lost, the election wasrnthe closest in a generation. The Democraticrnincumbent, Charies Box, a consistentrnsupporter of the federal magistrate,rnwas reelected by 1,900 votes. The decidingrnfactors in the election were Swedishrnracial guilt (Box is black), a well-oiledrnDemocratic machine, and Republicanrnovcrconfidence in Simms’ ability to ridernthe wave of public discontent over thernschools, high taxes, and corrupt publicrnworks contractors. But Mayor Box alsornreceived aid and comfort from the localrnGannett paper (LGP), which not onlyrndistorted everv significant political issue,rnbut even provided one of the most sycophanticrnendorsements m American historyrn—a full half-page, complete with arnhuge picture of the mavor.rnDuring the month leading up to thernelection on April 1, Rockford was a farrnbetter place to live—at least, that’s whatrnthe LGP told us. News about crime, potholes,rnand the schools—indeed, even thernmayor’s race—took a backseat to a propagandarncampaign aimed at convincingrnRockfordians that our city exhibits “a differentrnkind of greatness”—which explainsrnwhy Rockford was ranked dead lastrnin Money magazine’s 1996 survey of thernbest 300 cities to live in. The day beforernthe election, the front-page headlinernassured Rockfordians that “NewcomersrnAgree—Rockford’s Just Fine.” And torntop things off, the LGP’s editorialrnpage—which proudly displays the textrnof the First Amendment—kept mumrnwhen a local radio talk show host, justrnhours after endorsing Simms, was harassedrnbv a police tactical unit at thernsame time that a Democratic aldermanrnacross town was trying unsuccessfully tornget a police tactical unit to shut down arncrack house in his ward.rnThe mayoral loss, however, was followedrnby an important victory. Afterrnyears of being told that it was time torn”belly up and pay,” and that anything arnfederal magistrate says is “the law of thernland,” the citizens of Rockford were vindicatedrnby the Seventh Circuit Court ofrnAppeals in April. On point after point,rnthe second highest court in the landrnoverruled Magistrate Michael Mahoney.rnUnfortunately, three of the most importantrnelements of his “remedial order”rnwere never appealed: the construction ofrnthree new schools, the funding for thosernschools, and the “controlled choice” planrn(the current euphemism for forced busing).rnIn an aside, the Court of Appealsrnindicated that it might have overruledrnthose decisions too, if it had been givenrnthe chance.rnCome September, thousands of childrenrnwill be bused across the city—up tornan hour and a half each way—to achievern”racial balance.” The students will returnrnto school, but Rockford won’trnreturn to the sleepy little town that itrnonce was. The resistance is mobilizing,rnand the battle has just begun.rn—Scott P. RichertrnEPICYCLES:rn• The Janet Cooke of the Right: JonrnWestling, the president of Boston Universityrnwho declared in these pages thatrnMartin Luther King, Jr.’s B.U. dissertationrncontained not a single plagiarizedrnpassage, has once again embarrassedrnhimself. Westling has long crusadedrnagainst granting social services to “specialrnneeds” students, such as those sufferingrnfrom dyslexia and attention deficitrndisorder. To show how absurd the demandsrnof the learning disabled havernbecome, Westling has frequently highlightedrnthe case of “Somnolent Samantha,”rna student who demanded extrarnhelp from the university because she sufferedrnan inability to stay awake in class.rnWell, under cross-examination in Aprilrnas part of a lawsuit from students legitimatelyrnsuffering from such illnesses,rnWestling admitted that he has beenrnlying all along: “Somnolent Samantha”rndoesn’t exist. “What I was doing herernwas creating a persona,” he explained,rn”a fictional persona who allowed mc arnway into the broader subject that I wantedrnto cover.” In the wake of Westling’srnbungling of the King plagiarism scandal,rnJames Warren of the Chicago Tribunernawarded a dunce cap to the universityrnpresident. The cap still fits.rn• Strange Times, Strange Measures:rnIn building their case against OklahomarnCity bombing suspect TimothyrnMcVeigh, prosecutors argued that “violent,rnanti-government writings” hadrnbeen found in McVeigh’s car, includingrnquotations from (gasp!) Samuel Adamsrnand John Locke. As the New York Timesrnreported, “Another clipping in the carrnwas a quote from Samuel Adams, thernRevolutionary War figure reviled by thernBritish as a terrorist.” At this rate, byrnthe time the trial is over, the Americanrngovernment will have petitioned thernQueen to be reunited with Great Britain.rn• States’ Rights: Last November, by arnvote of almost two to one, the citizens ofrnArizona passed a ballot initiative allowingrndoctors to prescribe marijuana, heroin,rnand a handful of other drugs that arernoutlawed at the federal level. The campaignrnwas largely funded by New Yorkrnbillionaire George Soros and other advocatesrnof drug legalization. Perhaps alonernamong the states, Arizona has a peculiarrnconstitutional clause allowing its governorrnto veto an initiative, and GovernorrnFife Symington initially threatened to dornso. But instead the legislature passed,rnand Symington signed into law, a billrnwhich requires that any drug dispensedrnas medicine in Arizona be approved byrnthe federal Food and Drug Administration.rnOne doesn’t have to favor drug legalizationrnto lament Arizona’s action.rnMost attacks on states’ rights come fromrnWashington. Arizonans seem perfectlyrnhappy to enslave themselves.rnO B I T E R DICTA: North Dakota poetrnTim Murphy has contributed two newrnpoems to this issue. A large collection ofrnMr. Murphy’s verse, with a critical prefacernby Ingersoll Prize recipient RichardrnWilbur, will be published next year byrnStory Line Press. The other poet thisrnmonth is Harold McCurdy, the author ofrnseven volumes of verse and the forthcomingrncollection ReaUzing Westward.rnChronicles is illustrated this month byrnAnna Mycek-Wodecki, the art directorrnof Chronicles. Her work has appeared inrnexhibitions in Warsaw, Paris, Wallsee,rnAustria, and New York City.rnJULY 1997/9rnrnrn